Governor assures Texas schools safe

Dec. 13, 2001 at 3:33 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Gov. Rick Perry assured Texans on Wednesday that their schools are safe after the FBI reported a low-level, vague threat against them in retaliation for the bombing of Afghanistan.

Perry told a news conference in Austin that there were no specific schools mentioned in the unsubstantiated threat reported to the state by the FBI on Tuesday night. Schools across the state were informed Wednesday by the Texas Education Agency.

"Just like the threat to the bridges in California, those were unsubstantiated," the governor said. "This appears to be the same type of information that's flowing back in. The FBI thought it was important for the public to be notified, and we have addressed it in a timely and appropriate way."

The Houston FBI office reported the threat, and an investigation is under way into its orgin.

Perry said Texas schools have been operating under tighter security since the Columbine High School shooting two years ago in which 12 students and a teacher were gunned down in Colorado.

"Texans sent their children to school today and they should do so tomorrow," he said. "My children went to school this morning. The FBI agent in charge in Houston sent his children to school. Texas schools have been safer, more secure, more focused on student safety and emergency preparedness since the events at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999."

The TEA notified all the state's public schools of the low-level threat via e-mail Wednesday.

"We notified the superintendents about the threat," said TEA spokeswoman Debbie Graves-Ratcliffe. "We told them it was vague and unsubstantiated but to err on the side of caution and they should look at their safety and security plans."

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